Check It Out: Ready Player One

Apr 26, 2016


Before his death, video-game designer James Halliday created the virtual world known as the OASIS; a place where people could escape the humdrum of everyday life by creating an online persona to endlessly travel through the many worlds of the virtual universe. OASIS made Halliday one of the wealthiest people in the world, but he had no one to take over the company when he died. Upon his death in in the year 2044, Halliday had one last message for the world. That message launched a contest to look for the hidden “Easter Egg” within the OASIS, and the winner receiving Halliday’s vast fortune and ultimate control over OASIS.

Think of this book as a higher stakes Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, complete with more sinister bad guys and the understanding that 80s pop culture is the key to it all.

The main hero of this story is 18-year-old Wade Watts who lives in abject poverty with his uncaring and cruel aunt. Wade’s life is so grim, he spends almost all of his time in OASIS. He has devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within the confines of the digital world. His vast knowledge, bordering on obsession of all things Halliday and 80’s related enables him to figure out the first clue left by Halliday. The race is on, and if Wade is going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

Ready Player One is a quest novel of the highest order in the grand tradition of great fantasy literature. I grew up in the 1980s and felt as if this book was created specifically with my generation in mind. Chockfull of 80s movie, music, and video games nostalgia, this book is a beautiful treat to behold. Each pop culture reference is well thought out and woven perfectly into the story to create one of the most interesting and fun books I’ve read in a long time.

But don’t worry if you aren’t a big video game player or don’t remember a lot about the 80’s, anyone can follow along. If you are a big 80s buff, you will only enjoy it more. The story is both innovate and old-fashioned and will appeal to anyone who loves to lose themselves in a good novel. Ready Player One has even been picked up by famed director Steven Spielberg to be made into a movie due out in 2018.

Check out this dynamic work of science fiction fantasy and many more like it at the Sioux City Public Library.